Brief Technical Guide: Building Waste
A brief guide to building waste management in emergencies
Project dates: May 2007 - November 2009
“..the re-use of materials salvaged from damaged buildings should be promoted where feasible either as primary construction materials (bricks or stone masonry, roof timber, roof tiles, etc.) or as secondary material (rubble for foundations or levelling roads, etc.).” (SPHERE Shelter and Settlement, Standard 5 : Construction, Guidance note 1, 2004)
A considerable amount of “waste” is generated during a conflict or following a natural disaster, much of which can be recovered and recycled, with benefits to local communities. Photograph: M. Bjerregaard / DWR
Waste from demolition, reconstruction and rehabilitation of damaged buildings is one of the most voluminous types of waste generated by a disaster. Building waste has the potential to be a valuable resource if properly managed, as it can often be reused and recycled. Shelter practitioners can have an active role in reducing negative impacts of disaster waste and reconstruction.
This guide outlines the basic principles of disaster waste management as well as some specific examples for reuse and recycling of building waste.
Download the Brief Technical Guide and the accompanying training module
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